Lewis Hamilton dealt another blow to Sebastian Vettel’s title hopes by winning the Hungarian Grand Prix and extending his championship lead.
Hamilton did not put a foot wrong at the Hungaroring after blasting off his marks from pole position before controlling the race to claim his fifth victory of the campaign.
Vettel, who started from fourth, took on a different strategy to Hamilton, and did enough to get the jump on Valtteri Bottas, only for a slow pit stop to have seemingly cost him dearly.
The Ferrari driver emerged behind Bottas and it looked set to finish that way before Vettel took second by driving round the outside of the Finn at the first turn with five laps to go.
Bottas ran into the back of the Ferrari as he attempted to defend the position, but Vettel escaped without any damage to finish 17 seconds behind Hamilton, with Kimi Raikkonen third.
Bottas, who lost part of his front wing, finished fifth after a late collision with Daniel Ricciardo, who then overtook the Finn on the final lap in his second shot at the wounded Mercedes car.
The British driver will start ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Ferrari rivals Kimi Raikkonen (third) and Sebastian Vettel, who could only manage fourth position, in Sunday’s race (17:10 start, UAE time).
Watch reaction from Hamilton and Vettel below:
Lewis Hamilton was encouraged by Mercedes not to delete an Instagram post in which he accused Sky Sports‘ pundits of “undermining” him.
Formula One’s world championship leader criticised elements of the broadcaster’s German Grand Prix coverage after he sealed a famous win from 14th on the grid.
“I find it amazing listening to the ex-drivers commentating [and] not a single one of them could find a good word to say,” Hamilton wrote on Instagram before removing the post.
“Positivity and love wins always no matter what words you use to try and undermine me.”
Nico Rosberg was among Sky’s punditry team for the Hockenheim race, but it is understood that Hamilton’s criticism was not aimed at his long-term rival.
Martin Brundle – who competed in 165 grands prix before establishing himself as television’s voice of F1 for the past two decades – and Britain’s 1996 world champion Damon Hill were both among Sky‘s team in Germany.
“I had a conversation with Lewis about it on Sunday night,” Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said. “I actually encouraged him to leave all that stuff online.
“Sometimes you let your guard down, and sometimes when you’re at home, you’re exuberant, and you put on the TV to hear a commentator saying negative stuff, and that can get to you.”
Hamilton, who moved 17 points clear of Sebastian Vettel following his extraordinary win, has become increasingly vocal online in recent weeks.
After the British Grand Prix, he issued a series of posts responding to those who had accused him of being a sore loser. In Germany, he published a four-page story to Instagram after he broke down in qualifying.
“Lewis says things like he means it,” Wolff added. “It is great that he wears his heart on his sleeve. We are humans, we have emotions, and we are influenced by what others say.
“I take things personally when perhaps I shouldn’t care about an opinion that is not relevant to me. I should respect that an opinion is different to mine, but that is very hard to do after an exhausting rollercoaster ride of a weekend.
“We need controversies. We need polarising stances. We don’t want to streamline everything.”
Wolff also dismissed the notion that F1 stewards should adopt a version of football’s VAR to speed up their decision-making process.
Hamilton was not declared the official winner until three hours after Sunday’s race following an investigation into his aborted pit stop.
Wolff added: “Do you think the penalty in the World Cup final was right? It is a good example that even though there was the video analysis the referee looked at it three times. Then, you get a 50-50 response as to whether it was a penalty or not.”
Hamilton was reprimanded to avoid a timed penalty, as was handed out to Vettel and his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, for their respective collisions with Bottas and Hamilton in the races at France and Silverstone.
“The stewards made the right decision [with Hamilton],” Wolff said. “It was possible that a five-second penalty could have been applied but that wouldn’t have been the right thing for the sport.
“Could you say I was happy with the penalties applied to Sebastian in France, and Kimi at Silverstone? I wasn’t.”